Emily Post said it best, “Manners are the sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.  If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.  Proper office etiquette and essential business tool.  It impacts your reputation with management, colleagues, and customers.  Unfortunately, there are no universal rules that govern all workplaces.  However, the basics of good etiquette translate to all settings and industries.

What are the basics?

When in Rome…”

What you wear to work can affect impression on others and your overall productivity.  While comfort is key, wearing workout attire to an office where your colleagues are wearing khakis and button-down shirts is not advised.  The rule of thumb is to dress like others in the office.  Even better, dress for the job you want.

Keep personal grooming, personal.

There is a big difference between applying some lip balm or hand cream at your desk and giving yourself a complete manicure.  Desks and offices are for performing work.  All grooming including makeup application and hair brushing should be done in the restroom.  Manicures should be limited to home or the salon.

Table manners

Cubicles and offices are not dining areas.  Eating at your desk not only decreases productivity, but is annoying to those around you.  No one wants to hear you chewing on a salad.  They especially do not want to smell your leftover fish or microwave popcorn.  Be mindful of what you bring for lunch.  If there is a break room or kitchen, use it.  When you are done eating, clean up after yourself.

Voices carry

As more offices remove cubicle walls for an open concept workspace, voice control is imperative.  Mind your volume when on the phone.  Use headphones if permitted when listening to music.  Place your cell phone on vibrate when entering the building.  If you need to take a personal call, keep it brief and go outside or into an empty conference room.

Sick time is granted for a reason, use it!

The absolute worst violation of proper business etiquette is going to work when ill.  Staying home and resting will help the recovery process and prevent the spread of germs throughout the office.  Too many people feel that everything will fall apart and their colleagues will be upset if they have to pick up the slack.  Honestly, it is worse to infect everyone than rely on them to field a few phone calls or emails for a day or two.

These basics of proper office etiquette are universal.  Adhering to them shows a level of professionalism that is always in high demand.


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